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Party Wall etc. Act 1996


The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 was introduced to put procedures in place for resolving disputes between owners of neighbouring properties which arise when it is the intention of one of the property owners to carry out work which affects the party wall. This can involve the construction of a party wall or boundary wall at or adjacent to the line of junction between the two properties or undertaking excavations within certain distances of a neighbour's structure and to a lower depth than the structures foundations.

Prior to undertaking such works the owner of the property who is to complete the work must notify the owners of neighbouring properties of their intentions when the work is notifiable under the Act. The notification must be written and delivered either by email or letter within the timescale stated in the Act (generally, 2 months). The neighbours who have received the notice must also give a written reply to agree, request changes (counter-notice) or start the dispute. No reply will also result in dispute. The best way forward is to talk to the neighbour(s) to try to reach an amicable agreement and failing this an agreed surveyor will need to be appointed to draw up an impartial Award. It is usual for the party who wishes to undertake the work to pay the surveyor or surveyor’s costs. An explanatory booklet is available on-line here and available to download. An agreement is valid for one year, so consideration needs to be given to the timescale of the proposed project.


The act is often evoked when constructing a new extension on or near the boundary and when deep foundations are required for an extension further away from the boundary. It is also required for loft conversions and some alterations when the proposal includes works to a party wall or party structure. For example, this could be for the insertion of a new structural member.


We can offer further advice when required and work with a Party Wall Surveyor for more complexed projects.

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